Sunday, July 02, 2017

Points in my I-Spy Book of Orienteering

Oscar Wilde with Turtles
Sunday morning and a few hours to kill before setting off to the Sprint Relay. The obvious thing to do was to run the men's sprint course, so we set off to do the obvious thing. Our apartment is a five minute run from the Town Square.  We got there to find it empty, with all signs of yesterday's tents, stages, fencing, cameras and everything else removed, no doubt now being set up in a field somewhere else.

There's a spectator race tonight so the plan was to take it easy. No chance. James set off, and I set off after him. The first leg was straight up the hill. As soon as you started you noticed that running on the cobbles was quite painful. Once out of the square the surface improved, but then the hill arrived. Jink left and right through the houses and there is a 15m high grass bank, seemingly almost vertical, complete with elephant track from yesterday. This was unsurprisingly quite muddy and slippery, and having struggled to the top you then had to concentrate on the approach to control 1. That went OK, but then I completely messed up control 2 by not bothering to read the map. I knew roughly where the best route went, but unfortunately didn't quite go that way, and was suddenly confronted by an impassable fence. 20 seconds gone as I ran round an extra building.

From then on things went a bit better. Control 5 turned out to be in an area that was now inaccessible with all entrances locked, so that lost a few seconds. Then it was back through the Town Square, with the silence of the massed tourist to spur you on, before another go at the cobbles and the hill, including that grass bank on the way to 10. James took the Hubmann route to the left to avoid it. Another steep grass bank with elephant track down on the way to 10 and then back up on the way to 12, and it's all downhill from there. Past the Oscar Wilde statue with turtles (yes, there is a perfectly good reason why there is a statue of Oscar Wilde surrounded by turtles in Tartu - I just don't have the first clue what it is), through the park, a quick trip to the fountain and then a sprint to the finish. I did 24 minutes. James just broke 20 minutes. The big boys did 14.30 yesterday. Perhaps I lost more than I thought on that control I couldn't get to.

In the time it had taken to jog to the start and run the course we had ticked off a good selection of items from the I-Spy Book of Orienteering. Orienteer from country you didn't know orienteered (Chinese Taipei, 10 points), novelty control flag (Estonia have gone for blue and white, but they are everywhere so only worth 2 points), IOF Jury member (David Rosen, 5 points), elite athlete who don't quite make it to the WOC team (various people out running the course, 5 points), or maybe they were average orienteer who wants to compare themself to the world champion (lots more of them , including me and James, so only 2 points again) and finally orienteering legend (Peo Bengtsson, 20 points, though on reflection, Peo is the  person who has probably orienteered in more countries than anyone else, so seeing him should perhaps only be worth 10 points). That's a lot of points in thirty minutes, and I could claim a bonus for getting two orienteering legends in two days, since I saw Jorgen Martensson yesterday. Perhaps there's some sort of event on.

No comments: